Back Pain from Breathing: Is Bad Posture the Cause?

We often overlook the importance of breathing – that automatic, involuntary process that keeps us alive. Yet, the way we breathe can significantly influence our posture and physical well-being, including persistent back pain.

In this blog, we’ll explore the intricate relationship between respiration, posture, and back discomfort, and the importance of a certified massage therapist in Philadelphia.

Your Breathing Machine­: The Mighty Diaphragm

Let’s begin by looking at the diaphragm – the­ main muscle that makes inhaling and exhaling happen. When you breathe in, the diaphragm begins contracting and flattening out, decreasing pressure inside your thorax. This allows air to flow freely into your lungs.

When you exhale, the diaphragm re­laxes, regaining its dome shape and pushing air out from the lungs.

How Breathing Shapes Your Posture

Breathing seems simple­, but this everyday act seriously impacts your skeletal frame and muscle system. When you inhale deeply, it increases abdominal pressure. Your spinal curves naturally flatten, giving the thoracic spine and ribcage extra stability. However, a weakened diaphragm negatively affects the mobility and function of the thoracic spine and ribcage area.

Poor Breathing and Back Pain: A Vicious Loop

Improper breathing is problematic. It starts a cycle of back discomfort. Poor posture­ or injury alters our body mechanics. Our breathing becomes restricted, which weakens core muscles like the diaphragm. Postural imbalances and strain on the back worsen.

Causes of Breathing Problems

Several issues often lead to weakened core­ muscles and improper diaphragmatic breathing:

  • Chronic low back pain
  • Frequent tension headaches
  • High stress, anxiety, emotional overload
  • Sedentary desk work, poor posture­
  • Rib fixations, muscle imbalances

Fixing the Bad Breathing Loop

Treating poor breathing can really help with pain in your neck, shoulders, or lower back. Ways like lifting ribs, using belly muscles, and moving ribcage can restore normal breathing. This can stop pain linked with breathing wrong.

A Cool Breath of Fresh Air

Doing breath exercises every day is great. Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Breathe in through nose slowly, pushing belly out. Breathe out fast through mouth, pulling belly in. Do it a bunch to get used to breathing the right way.

Restoring Breathing Through Massage Therapy

The most effective way to manage bad breath and alleviate the associated back pain is through specialized massage therapy A certified massage therapist plays an important role in helping patients return to breathing normally.

A skilled practitioner using soft tissue manipulation and advanced mobilization techniques:

  • Release the tension and restrictions in the chest, ribs and abdominal muscles that hinder the movement of the lungs.
  • Strengthen the mobility and flexibility of your thoracic spine and ribs.
  • Stimulate the diaphragm and encourage normal contraction during exhalation.
  • Offer relaxation exercises and personalized instruction to retrain the body’s natural relaxation machinery.

Incorporating the expertise of a certified massage therapist into your overall healthcare plan can be a game changer for you to regain control of your breath and achieve lasting spinal health and relaxation.

Improve Your Health with Better Breathing

As we grow older, our backs can also become less flexible, which may affect our respiratory system However, addressing these problems and gaining knowledge of the right breathing techniques are essential for our typical health, athletic talents, and comfort. Breathing is an essential skill that deserves our attention.

A certified massage therapist in Philadelphia – Justin Shelley offers advanced massage and bodywork and may provide you with recommendations, techniques, and treatments to help you with healthy respiratory patterns and provide lasting comfort from backaches.

What are Neuromuscular Massage Techniques? | Licensed Massage Therapist

If you’re unfamiliar with this targeted therapy, you’ve come to the right place! So what exactly sets neuromuscular massage apart? It’s a type of trigger point therapy designed to treat muscle knots (technically called myofascial trigger points). The goal is to relieve tension, restore normal muscle function, increase flexibility and range of motion.

Massage therapists use concentrated pressure on the trigger point for 10-30 seconds, usually with fingers, knuckles or elbows. This helps relax the tense muscle fibers.

Trigger points develop from injury, overuse, or chronic muscle tension. They cause pain, spasms, and limited mobility. Neuromuscular massage aims to resolve these issues at the source.

It’s considered more specialized than traditional massage. Therapists require advanced knowledge of anatomy and physiology to properly identify and treat trigger points. Their training focuses on the neuromuscular system specifically.

Different Neuromuscular Massage Techniques

Some key techniques you may encounter include:

  • Positional Release: The therapist will gently move the affected limb into a relaxed position, holding for up to 90 seconds before releasing. This allows the muscle fibers to fully let go of built up tension.
  • Palpation: The therapist will feel along the muscle using various pressure levels to isolate trigger points. Their touch is precise enough to pinpoint problem spots.
  • Compression: Direct, deep pressure is applied to the trigger point with fingers, knuckles or elbows. This increases blood flow to the area.
  • PNF Stretching: The target muscle group is stretched and contracted at the same time. This restores mobility and range of motion.

Who can benefit from neuromuscular massage?

It is ideal for those dealing with chronic muscle tightness, spasms, and restricted mobility. Conditions like back/neck pain, headaches, carpal tunnel, sciatica, and more may improve with this treatment.

The focused nature provides lasting relief from irritation and inflammation in a way traditional massage sometimes cannot. Results are often seen faster with the advanced trigger point techniques.

However, it’s crucial to see a specially trained therapist. Incorrect methods could worsen symptoms. But done properly, neuromuscular massage can help restore comfortable movement and provide chronic pain relief.

When searching for a qualified neuromuscular massage therapist, be sure to ask about their specific training and education. Many pursue advanced certifications in areas like trigger point therapy, sports massage, myofascial release, and others.

Do you experience chronic muscular pain, restricted mobility, or other neuromuscular system dysfunctions? Connect with Justin Shelley, a licensed massage therapist in Philadelphia. As a National Board Certified and licensed massage therapist, Mr. Shelley specializes in techniques including neuromuscular therapy, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, deep tissue massage, and other massage modalities.

He utilizes his scientific education in biology and physiology to evaluate clients and develop customized treatment plans aimed at restoring normal neuromuscular system function. Mr. Shelley’s professional qualifications and dedication to advancing his massage therapy expertise enable him to provide clients with exceptional, targeted neuromuscular treatment. Schedule your massage session for neuromuscular therapy now.

Healing Touch: The Deep Impact of Bodywork

Research into the impact of stress on humans has a long history, with roots dating back nearly 100 years. During that time, scientists have worked to better understand the biological impacts of stress and explore outlets for relieving stress.

The early research by Hans Selye in the 1930s was groundbreaking. It provided convincing evidence that stress can negatively impact health. Selye viewed the body as a tightly regulated machine where specific stressors were expected to cause hormonal responses. However, this strict input-output model was soon challenged.

New Theories on Stress Emerge

Soon, other scientists began testing different theories on the biological effects of stress. At Rockefeller University, researcher Jay Weiss used electric shocks on rats. One group of rats developed prolonged stress reactions, including ulcers. However, Weiss noticed that a simple act could significantly reduce the stress response. When shocked rats were allowed to gnaw on a stick, their blood pressure and cortisol dropped instantly.

Weiss’ findings revealed the body’s stress response is not solely mechanical. Psychological factors also play a key role. This launched extensive research into how various stress outlets and interventions can affect the body’s stress reactions. The “chewing on a stick” results demonstrated how touch therapy may help relieve stress buildup.

The Power of Compassionate Touch

Human touch has a profound impact. Our skin contains many receptors that process sensory information, making touch an essential communication mode. Evolutionary evidence also explains why supportive touch is important. Most animals adapted to specific external environments, but humans evolved to survive in social groups.

Touch therapy leverages these biological and social needs. Physical contact with a trusted practitioner can provide emotional and physiological relief. When the body senses safety, it can shift its focus from “fight or flight” to “rest and digest.” That’s why massage techniques help cope with clients’ loneliness, anxiety, and other stresses.

Recent studies have identified how caring touch may also lessen pain perception. This adds to the evidence that touch helps strengthen social bonding while also reducing distress. For manual therapists, key questions remain around how to best apply these insights.

Holistic Stress Relief

Skilled practitioners carefully observe client stress signals like jitteriness, shallow breathing, or clenched muscles. A calm, attentive presence helps establish trust. Listening compassionately and making small changes, such as warming blankets, further supports relaxation.

Once clients feel safe, specialized touch techniques can begin releasing upper cervical/suboccipital muscle tension. These areas allow therapists to influence brain regions like the amygdala and vagus nerve that govern stress responses. Applying slow, graded exposure and monitoring client reactions is essential.

The growing trust and improved eye contact of the client signal that the prefrontal cortex is engaged. At this point, therapists can provide encouraging suggestions about recovering strength and confidence. Over time, clients build resilience and an enhanced sense of control over their stress levels.

Final Word

Selye’s pioneering work showed stress is wired into animals as a survival mechanism. But uncontrolled stress causes distress. Through skilled touch and emotional support, therapists help clients gain mastery over their personal stress response. Their findings pointed to comprehensive wellness solutions that remain relevant today.

If you live in Philadelphia, Justin Shelley can provide you with healing massages that can elevate your stress and improve your stress response. Call +1-267-252-7658 to make an appointment.

What is a Prenatal Massage?

A prenatal massage for women provides comfort and relaxation for expectant mothers. This specialized massage aims to ease common pregnancy discomforts and provide a nurturing touch during this important time. Read on to learn the benefits of prenatal massage for women and what to expect during a session.

What are the Benefits of Prenatal Massage?

Prenatal massage offers many benefits for expectant mothers. Some of the top benefits include:

Relieves muscle aches and pains: Carrying extra weight in the front of your body shifts your center of gravity and puts strain on your back, hips, and legs. Massage helps relieve this discomfort.

Reduces stress and anxiety: Massage promotes relaxation and provides a comforting touch during your pregnancy. This can help you better manage stress and anxiety.

Improves circulation and reduces swelling: Massage enhances circulation and lymph flow to reduce common pregnancy swelling, especially in the hands and feet.

Promotes better sleep: The relaxation provided by massage can help improve the quality of your sleep. Quality sleep is very important during pregnancy.

Provides emotional support: The nourishing touch of a prenatal massage for women enhances feelings of nurturing and support during your pregnancy.

When Should You Get a Prenatal Massage?

Prenatal massage can be beneficial throughout pregnancy. Many massage therapists recommend waiting until the second trimester, around 14-20 weeks, before starting the massage. The first trimester is when the risk of miscarriage is highest, and some therapists prefer to wait until this risk has passed. During the third trimester, lying on your stomach becomes uncomfortable, so a side-lying position is recommended.

Always check with your prenatal care provider before starting massage therapy to ensure it is safe for your pregnancy. Let your massage therapist know how far along you are in your pregnancy before your session.

What to Expect During a Prenatal Massage

During a prenatal massage, you lie on a specifically designed table that has cutouts for your belly and breasts, so you can lie face down. Side-lying positions are used later in pregnancy when lying on your stomach is no longer comfortable.

The massage therapist will avoid certain pressure points that could stimulate uterine contractions. The therapist will also avoid massaging areas prone to cramping, like your ankles and hands. Lighter pressure is often used, but let your therapist know if you would like deeper pressure.

Your comfort is the top priority during a prenatal massage. The therapist will adjust bolsters, pillows, and cushions throughout the session to ensure you are as relaxed as possible. Let your massage therapist know right away if you experience any discomfort during the massage.

How to Choose a Prenatal Massage Therapist

When choosing a massage therapist, make sure they have received specialized training in prenatal massage. Most therapists learn pregnancy massage as an advanced certification after completing basic massage therapy training.

Ask trusted friends and your prenatal healthcare provider for therapist recommendations. Once you find some potential therapists, interview them before booking an appointment. Make sure the therapist has experience working with pregnant women and understands how to safely provide prenatal massage.

If you are in Philadelphia, you can contact Justin Shelley, a licensed massage therapist, for a reliable session of prenatal massage for women. Call +1-267-252-7658 to make an appointment.

Advantages of Neuromuscular Massage Therapy

Back pain or discomfort is a common occurrence for everyone, regardless of the cause—overstretching, tension, injury, or other problems. All told, severe back pain causes Americans to miss over 264 million workdays annually.

Neuromuscular massage therapy is a great way to relieve the chronic back pain associated with such problems. It provides more thorough tissue repair and uses scientific pain management for challenging instances.

How is Neuromuscular Massage Different?

Unlike traditional feel-good massages, certified neuromuscular therapy (NMT) specialists assess pain triggers via:

  • Postural evaluation
  • Range of motion testing
  • Detecting muscle tension through palpation

Custom therapy applies isolated pressure and friction movements across specific myofascial trigger points on the affected soft tissues, nerves and joints. This structural balancing corrects postural abnormalities, optimizing flexibility.

Advantages of Professional Neuromuscular Therapy

Fixes Chronic Pain Issues

The clinical method of NMT relieves tension in muscle fibers and connective tissues by combining precise tissue manipulation with an understanding of anatomy. Restoring postural alignment this way reduces referred and spinal pain from myofascial strain, commonly misdiagnosed as mere soreness. Deep-rooted issues get fixed.

Prevents Soft Tissue Injuries

Athletes and fitness enthusiasts choose neuromuscular therapy to ensure complete muscle groups are balanced around vulnerable joints. This prevents strains or tears at points that are prone to them by providing kinetic chain support, particularly following exercise. It maintains the flexibility necessary for injury-free mobility as we age.

Non-Invasive Treatment

The external manipulation and force tension release techniques used in NMT provide curative benefits effectively without invasive medication side effects. The all-natural pain relief works hand-in-hand with activity modification for lasting injury healing, minus dependencies.

Faster Injury Recovery

Neuromuscular therapy (NMT) expedites post-injury muscular recovery by speeding circulation in damaged soft tissue areas and conveying essential nutrients. Enhanced blood flow combined with precise myofascial trigger points release curtails stiffness, accelerating normal activity resumption.

Fewer Sessions Are Needed

Unlike fluffy spa massages requiring perpetual visits, NMT’s issue-focused strategy typically resolves common athletic pains, or sciatica, in 6 to 12 progressive sessions as structural balance gets reinstated.

How Neuromuscular Massage Therapy Treats Trigger Point

By applying strong pressure directly over the tense tissue for a duration of 30 to 2 minutes, neuromuscular massage seeks to relieve stress and release tension at the trigger point. The purpose of manually “softening” and “loosening” the fibers is the aim of persistent pressure.

The area that was previously devoid of blood and oxygen is stimulated after the fibers are released, which helps to speed up healing and eventually lessen pain. By analyzing the patient’s pain patterns, massage therapists with training in neuromuscular massage can identify trigger sites.

In summary, neuromuscular therapy can help you with chronic back pain. A trigger point massage specialist can assess the muscle and determine how many treatment sessions might be required to enhance muscle strength, tone, and balance.

How Massage Can Ease Sciatic Pain

If you’ve ever felt a sharp, shooting pain from your lower back down through your leg, you may be one of the many people suffering from sciatic nerve pain. This is a common condition that occurs when the sciatic nerve gets compressed or irritated.

While there are various medical treatments available, many patients find relief through a simple but effective remedy – sciatic nerve massage.

What is Sciatic Nerve Pain?

The sciatic nerve is the largest and longest nerve in the our body. It runs from the lower back down through the buttocks and back of each leg, controlling muscles and feeling sensations. When this nerve gets compressed, often due to a herniated spinal disk or tight muscles, it can cause mild to severe pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness.

How Can Sciatic Nerve Massage Help?

A gentle sciatic nerve massage focuses directly on the affected area. This massage relieves tension and reduces inflammation from compressed nerves by applying pressure and stroking along the nerve pathway. It improves blood flow, which brings fresh oxygen to irritated tissues. This targeted massage also relaxes muscles that might be causing pinching of the nerves.

Many patients find that regular sciatic massage sessions greatly reduce their pain and other symptoms over time. The relief lasts longer with each massage because it calms the irritated nerves. While medication or physical therapy may still be needed, massage provides a safe, non-invasive way to get consistent pain relief.

Benefits of Sciatic Nerve Massage

Many benefits come from including sciatic nerve massage in your pain management plan:

  • It’s a completely drug-free treatment option. You don’t have to worry about medication interactions or dependency.
  • It releases endorphins, which act as natural painkillers in the body. This can provide both immediate and lasting pain relief.
  • It reduces inflammation around the compressed nerve root, flushes out toxins, and improves blood flow.
  • It prevents scar tissue formation along the nerve and keeps the tissues supple, allowing the nerve to glide freely.
  • Overuse of certain muscles and underuse of others are common causes of sciatica. The massage corrects muscle imbalances.
  • It improves overall circulation and mobility in the lower back and legs. Better circulation improves healing.

Sciatic Nerve Massage in Philadelphia

No matter the cause of your sciatic pain, sciatic nerve massage can provide noticeable relief. It’s highly recommended to get treatment from a licensed and professionally-trained massage therapist when dealing with sciatic pain. Consistent, proper massage techniques could get you off prescription medications and live pain-free.

A certified practitioner will know the proper massage techniques to target the affected areas along the sciatic nerve pathway. They can pinpoint knots and tendons in muscles that may be causing compression. A skilled massage therapist will adapt the right amount of pressure and strokes to address your specific symptoms.

The personalized sciatic nerve massage in Philadelphia from Justin Shelley is far better than any standard self-massage you can perform at home. His expertise can mean more significant and longer-lasting relief of your sciatic discomfort.

Justin Shelley (Licensed Massage Therapist)

Regular self-care is important to emotional and physical well-being, I take pride in the fact that many men are client feel as comfortable here as the women clientele.

“I tell people to try to spend time once a month to take care of yourself. Your body does so much for you that you need to give your body a gift,” It’s the best gift you can give yourself.

Massage can lead to better sleep, less anxiety, and ease of movement, especially today when people tend to spend a lot of time sitting at a computer.

Massage ranges from deep tissue massage, a firm massage that is particularly good for relieving tension, to traditional Swedish style which uses aromatherapy and warm towels on the feet and back. Hot stone and prenatal massage are also popular. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns. @justinshelley.massagetherapist Book a massage with no prior notice! Call 267-252-7658 or Book Online! At

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